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Nanotechnology. 2008 May 14;19(19):195707. doi: 10.1088/0957-4484/19/19/195707. Epub 2008 Apr 8.

Slip-enhanced electrokinetic energy conversion in nanofluidic channels.

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Physics Department, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.


We investigate theoretically the influence of hydrodynamic slip at the surface of a nanofluidic channel on the efficiency with which electrokinetic phenomena can be used to convert hydrostatic energy to electrical power. Slip is introduced by applying the Navier boundary condition to the pressure-driven and the electro-osmotic components of the fluid velocity. A strong enhancement in the efficiency is predicted for increasing slip length due to the resulting decrease in the fluidic impedance and increase in the streaming conductance. These effects are moderated by a decrease in the electrical impedance, which promotes dissipation. The maximum efficiency approaches 100% as the slip length diverges, and a potentially practical 40% efficiency is expected for a moderate 30 nm slip length in a 10 nm high channel. Recently reported slip lengths for carbon nanotube filters suggest that efficiencies above 70% and high power densities might be achieved in a graphitic system.

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